Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Aisa des hamaara santon

Posted on: September 16, 2021


This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in atulsongaday.me. If this article appears in other sites without the knowledge and consent of the web administrator of atulsongaday.me, then it is piracy of the copyright content of atulsongaday.me and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Blog Day :

4808 Post No. : 16576

Few days back, I came across an obscure song rendered by Janardan Tanjorkar from the film ‘Kuchh Naya’ (1948). The surname ‘Tanjorkar’ sounded odd to me. It was apparent that Janardan was from Tanjore (now Thanjavur). But why did he use a Maharashtrian sounding surname? Was he a Maharashtrian whose family migrated to Thanjavur during the reign of Marathas in the 17th and 18th centuries? A search on the internet revealed a very interesting family background of Janardan Tanjorkar.

Janardan Tanjorkar (1913-1980) was born in Baroda (now Vadodara) to Devdasi Kantimathi Amma and Appaswamy Pillai. Kantimathi was a Bharatnatyam dancer attached to Brihdhiswara temple in Thanjavur and her husband, Appaswamy Pillai was the Nattuvanar, a kind of a Guru and a Choreographer who accompanied the devdasi dancers as a dance master, the music conductor and the vocal percussionist. Janardan got his initial training from Kumbakonam Narayanswamy Iyer and Palghat Mani Iyer and learnt Mirdangam and Carnatic vocal.

Sometime in 1880-81, a troupe of two devdasi Bharatnatyam dancers, along with two Nattuvanars and musicians were sent to Baroda as a part of dowry during the marriage of Princess Chimanabai (born Laxmibai) of Thanjavur with Prince Sayajirao (III) Gaekwad of Baroda. Kantimathi Amma as a Bharatnatyam dancer and her husband, Appaswamy Pillai as Nattuvanar joined the troupe after a couple of years as replacement for an earlier dancer and Nattuvanar respectively. Kantimanthi and her cousin, Gowri performed the Bharatnatyam dance in the court of the Maharaja of Baroda on Wednesdays and Saturdays. That was the beginning of introducing Bharatnatyam outside the Madras Presidency to the western and later to the northern India. In Baroda, Appaswamy Pillai adopted the family name of ‘Tanjorkar’ in keeping with the Maharashtrian tradition.

In Baroda, Janardan Tanjorkar learnt violin and became a violin player in the court of the Maharaja of Baroda. Here, he came into contact with Ustad Faiyyaz Khan, a Hindustani classical vocalist with Baroda court who trained him as a Hindustani classical vocalist. Janardan also learnt playing other musical instruments like Saraswati Veena while in Baroda. Over a period of time, he learnt both Carnatic and Hindustani classical music and became experts in playing multiple musical instruments.

Janardan Tanjorkar moved to Mumbai sometime during the second half of 1940s and became a graded artist of All India Radio as a violinist and vocalist. He also taught violin to music students and accompanied the Bharatnatyam dancers as a violinist.

Janardan’s younger brother, Kubernath Tanjorkar was an exponent of Bharatnatyam and became Nattuvanar in the court of Maharaja of Baroda. Later, he was appointed as the Professor of Dance at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad University, Vadodara. After retirement, he established Tanjore Dance Music and Art Research Centre in Vadodara, Presently, his third generation is involved with the propagation of Bharatnatyam and Carnatic music at this centre.

Janardan Tanjorkar had three sons and five daughters. All the three sons – Venugopal, Shekhar and Dayanand are based in Mumbai and are connected with Bharatnatyam dance and music. His grand-daughter, Dr. Madhu Tanjorkar (daughter of Shekhar), is a solo violinist and vocalist, both in Carnatic and Hindustani classical music. She has taken Bharatnatyam and the classical music to Manchester and the northern part of the UK where she runs music schools besides participating in concerts in India and abroad.

This is an unique case where a dowry in the form of Bharatnatyam dance troupe resulted in the propagation of Bharatnatyam and Carnatic music, probably for the first time outside the then Madras Presidency in Vadodara. The troupe created the Thanjavur legacy of Bharatnatyam dance in the pure traditional form in the midst of a different cultural setting.

Janardan Tanjorkar had shifted his base in Mumbai during the second half of 1940s. However, it seems, he had no interest in singing in films. The only film song he sang during his life time was in ‘Kuchh Naya’ (1948). Probably, Ninu Mazumdar, the music director of the film knew Janardan as both were associated with All India Radio, Mumbai.

‘Kuchh Naya’ (1948) was produced by Kantilal Acharya under the banner of Shanti Pictures and was directed by Ninu Mazumdar who also wrote the story and was also the music director for the film. The star cast comprised of mostly newcomers with Sudha Rao and Ramesh Arora in the lead roles. They were supported by Ramesh Sinha, Purnima Chowdhary and Dube. It was a maiden film for Kantilal Acharya as a producer, Ninu Mazumdar as a director, Ramesh Arora and Purnima Chowdhary as actors.

I have no idea about the story of the film. As per the report on Filmindia magazine, the film was privately screened in August 1948 for Morarji Desai, the then Home Minister of Bombay State and other dignitaries. The home minister had congratulated the producer for the novelty of the theme. In the absence of the film, it is difficult to know as to what was the novelty in the story of the film. The title of the film would, however, suggest that the theme of the story may be something to do with the fresh thinking for the people of the post-independent India as to how to move forward to rebuild India.

The film had 10 songs of which one song has been covered on the Blog. Except for two songs – one each accredited to Meerabai and Amir Khusrau, the lyricist/s for the rest of the songs are not known. I am presenting the second song, ‘aisa desh hamaara santon’ rendered by Janardan Tanjorkar to appear on the Blog. The song is set to music by Ninu Mazumdar. From the lyrics of the song, iI guess it to be a background song.

Acknowledgement: The information on Janardhan Tanjorkar and family for the article is sourced from:

1. madhutanjorkar.wixsite.com

2. sangeethas.wordpress,com

3. Tanjore Dance Music and Art Research Centre

Audio Clip:

Song-Aisa des hamaara santon (Kuchh Naya)(1948) Singer-Janardan Tanjorkar, Lyrics-Unknown, MD-Ninu Majumdar

Lyrics

aisa des hamaara..aa
san n n ……ton
aisa des hamaara
aisa des hamaara
aisa des hamaara
santon
aisa des hamaara jee..ee
aisa des hamaara

ved kitaab jahaan nahin pahunche
ved kitaab jahaan nahin pahunche
kahat sunat se(??) nyaara
santon
aisa des hamaara jee..ee
aisa des hamaara

jaat varan kachhu
priya aa naahin
?? sandhya ?? man ??
jaat varan kachhu
priya aa naahin
?? sandhya ?? man ??
bin baadal kya bijli chamke
bin ravi ?? ujiyaara
aisaa..aa des hamaara…aa
san n n ……ton
aisa des hamaara

4 Responses to "Aisa des hamaara santon"

Sadanand ji,
Hats off to you !
What an in depth research to get the full information ! Your perseverance is incomparable, unique indeed.
When you take up a project, you are very focused till you get the desired result. I wish I had this quality.
This Tanjorkar family may actually be the flag bearer and pioneer in bringing South Indian music and dance to the west.
Very interesting and engrossing write up. Thanks for it.
-AD

Like

Arun ji,

Thanks a lot for your profused appreciation of my write-up.

I was just going through the Gazettor of The Bombay Presidency Vol. VII from where I came to know that in around 1874-75, Maharaja Malharrao Gaekwad of Baroda was deposed and deported to Madras by the Government of India, for the administratative mismanagement. Till the new Maharaja was installed, Sir T. Madavrao was appointed as the Admnistartor who later became the Diwan of Baroda Sate.

The initial ‘T’ in Madavrao’s name stands for ‘Tanjorkar’. Probably, Janardan Tanjorkar’s father, Appaswamy Pillai may have got the idea of adopting ‘Tanjorkar’ from the Diwan of Baroda.

Like

Very interesting information. Well researched. Well done, Sadanand ji.

Like

Dr. Pradeep ji,
Thanks for the appreciation.

Like

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